Peter Donoughue, a respected academic and experienced publisher, gave a presentation about digital publishing at the University Queensland on September 10, 2010. He’s post the entire paper, Will the Book Publishing Industry Survive the Digital Revolution?, on his blog and it’s well worth a read for anyone who’s interested in books and publishing. It’s a lengthy and very well researched paper, wherein Donoughue covers a range of areas including print vs electronic book sales/revenues, author royalties, wholesale vs agency retail models, territorial rights, the problems facing publishers and retailers (especially independent booksellers), and consumer expectations.
Ultimately, Donoughue holds an optimistic view of e-publishing, while acknowledging that not all current players in the publishing industry will make it through to the other side of the digital revolution. But then, isn’t that revolutions are all about? He concludes:
Today publishing is surely at the beginning of a profound and positive change to the very structure of the industry. It’s best to be in favour of it.
In a much shorter but still very informative blogpost, Nyssa Pascoe outlines the address the matter of Why ebooks can’t be free over at A Writer Goes on a Journey. Nyssa’s been doing an internship at a major Australian publishing house and has a lot of interesting things to say on the subject of eBooks. Don’t forget to read through the comments for further info!
And finally, Gary Kemble has written an excellent article over on the ABC website, eBooks: The Future is Now, reporting back from the World Science Fiction Convention in Melbourne last month. The section dealing with piracy and DRM (Digital Rights Management) with arguments for and against the latter being presented. Lots of juicy discussion with authors Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross, and publishers Patrick Nielsen Hayden (Tor) and Tim Holman (Orbit).
Plenty of food for thought!